Eyebeam Brings Technology-Focused Art into the Foreground with Portland Show

Artsy Editorial
Sep 22, 2015 7:22PM

Installation view of “Eyebeam in Objects” at Upfor, 2015. Image courtesy of Upfor.

For their newest group exhibition “Eyebeam in Objects,” Portland’s Upfor Gallery invited Roddy Shrock, director of New York arts and tech nonprofit Eyebeam to curate their September show. Schrock asked seven emerging and established artists who stray from the conventional formats of artmaking to translate their immaterial practices—like sound art, web-based projects, and performance—into tangible works of art.

Eyebeam champions the work of artists and technologists—from hackers, to poets, to performers—who push boundaries in the arts, employing science and technology and heralding new media. Gathering works by artists who embody Eyebeam’s mission, “Eyebeam in Objects” is a multifaceted exhibition of prints, sculptures, videos, and objects that comprise a traditional-looking exhibition but disseminate ideas not often found in art galleries.

Despite the diversity of works on view, the idea of information as a form of currency and power is a common theme that runs throughout the show. Chloë Bass, James Bridle, and Heather Dewey-Hagborg are all address issues of privacy: Bass presents a two-channel video meant to evoke a peephole; Bridle offers colorful printed flags depicting internet citizenships based on his algorithmic project Citizen Ex; and Dewey-Hagborg shows a sculptural installation examining the ethics of DNA collection.

Zach Blas contributes prints, videos, a wall piece, and a booklet surrounding his Contra-Internet project, an effort to connect digital developments with political and military actions. Brian House and Zach Gage bring language to the forefront. House employs telegraph mechanisms to decipher speech patterns, while Gage shows a series of wall-hung boxes that create real-time poetry from Google prompts. Addie Wagenknecht’s mobile features 3D-printed guns, all aimed toward a central planet.

life in america is depressing, life in america is hard, life in america is lonely, 2015

In his curator’s statement, Schrock suggests that these artists work against the obfuscation of digital formats. In their attempts to connect audiences with technology, they encourage viewers to question and engage in ideas around new media that previously may have seemed impenetrable.

—K. Sundberg

Eyebeam in Objects” is on view at Upfor Gallery, Portland, Sep. 3–Oct. 10, 2015.

Follow Upfor Gallery on Artsy.

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